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SKINS Injury Update: Pre-season
Essendon Physical Performance Manager Justin Crow says star forward Joe Daniher has made “good steps forward” in his recovery from osteitis pubis.
The 2017 Crichton Medallist, who has been out of action since round seven last year, recently returned for stints with the main training group at The Hangar and Crow said he is pleased with the tall forward’s progress.
“I think Joe’s making some good steps forward, we’ve seen him in some training drills over the last fortnight,” Crow said on the SKINS Injury Update on Tuesday.
“We’ve got to remember that over the previous six months Joe has done hardly any football at all and with a long-term view to his return, building the fundamentals for the rest of his career.
“We’ll be taking it step by step with Joe, but we’ll expect to see him in more and more football-specific training over the next month.”
Club captain Dyson Heppell is on restricted training due to minor hamstring soreness, but the inspirational leader remains on track to enter the quickly approaching season with a clean bill of health.
“Dyson has some hamstring tendon pain – we’d call this, in the season, a minor niggle.
“We’d like Dyson, given his workload in the season, to go into competitive AFL matches clean and without any niggles or issues so we’ve taken a really conservative approach to that.
“He had a few days off his feet, he’s back running now, he’s got no pain clinically - which means when in the physio room when we test it, it seems okay.
“We’ll be putting him on an individual program over the next fortnight to try and clear that and give him a clean run at the season.”
Fellow leader Zach Merrett continues to improve following an ankle sprain in mid-January, progressing out of his moonboot as he pushes for a return to full training.
“He’ll be looking to get on the AlterG (treadmill) over the next week once he can hop pain-free,” Crow said.
“The progression from there, hopefully quite quickly over the next couple of weeks, is to run over ground, work on his change of direction and start to integrate (him) back into training.”
Crow said young on-baller Kobe Mutch was lucky to escape serious injury after an unfortunate incident at training last week .
Citing the similar marking contest that led to utility Mason Redman’s ankle fracture in November, Crow said Mutch’s scans yielded more encouraging results.
“Kobe was sent off for scans and fortunately his injury is different to Mason’s,” he said.
“Kobe has a lateral ligament sprain to his ankle, which isn’t a big concern, but he does have some talar dome bruising, so bone bruising within that ankle.
“He is progressing out of a boot over the next couple of days and then he’ll be brought up as his pain allows with that bone bruising, which makes it a little unpredictable.
“Once he can hop pain-free we’ll get him running on the AlterG (treadmill) and then build him up from there.”
Redman has made his own improvements in recent weeks, returning to the track in a significant step forward in his rehabilitation.
“Mason was out of the boot two and a half weeks ago, he’s worked through his AlterG progressions in terms of the amount of body weight he’s been able to tolerate with his running.
“He’s been running over ground now for a couple of sessions.
“We’re looking forward to seeing Mason build up his running volume, given he was in the boot for a period, and then working on his change of direction and integrating back into training over the next few weeks. “
Crow said the club is taking a patient approach to the management of key defender Cale Hooker’s minor hamstring concern to ensure the important Bomber is ready to fire in round one.
“Cale Hooker is working through hamstring running progressions. He had some pain in his hamstring after a session – (there was) no incident.
“When we scanned it there was an injury there, so we’ve taken the opportunity to get a good block of aerobic running into Cale.
“Given his history, particularly early in his career when he had a number of hamstring injuries, we’re going to take this slow and steady and make sure we build up a really good base for him ahead of the season.”
Meanwhile, intercepting defender Marty Gleeson has shown encouraging signs in his long-term recovery from a serious ankle injury sustained in last year’s JLT Community Series Clash with Geelong.
“Marty has done his first lot of technical football drills over the last week and we’ll be looking to do more and more football-specific training with Marty over the coming month,” Crow said.
“It’s dipping the toe in the water in those dynamic football drills where we’ll really get a good feel for how Marty’s progressing in that end stage of his rehab.”
Young forward Josh Begley has also taken big strides in his rehabilitation from an ACL injury suffered during the 2018 ANZAC Day clash with Collingwood, taking part in several drills with the main squad.
“You’ve seen him in some quite dynamic group drills with a (non-contact) bib on still, just making sure we keep him out of trouble.
“We’re just looking for more and more opportunities over the next couple of weeks to get him doing more competitive football drills and we’ll be testing all of those things we need to tick off to make sure that Josh is cleared to play whenever he’s ready.”
The Bombers are just weeks away from returning to the field, with the side’s first JLT Community Series match kicking off the pre-season competition against Carlton on Thursday, February 28.